JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK
Oh Mighty 'O'/King of All Funk, the NFL is full of "what-if" moments. What if Myles Jack wasn't whistled down? What if he-who-cannot-be-named did not hurt his back and have to move to the LA sunshine to make it better? What if The Culligan Girl never left The Roar? However, "what if" Nick Foles did not break his collarbone? No Minshew Mania and presumably no Trevor Lawrence? How do you think the Jags would have performed with a healthy Foles? He only has won two games since he left the Philadelphia Eagles and could not win the starting job with the Chicago Bears.
We live in a world where one event affects the next and so on and so on – and there therefore is a ripple effect on events such as the ones included in your question. We therefore can't know for sure what would have happened in 2018 had Jack's fumble recovery in the AFC Championship Game been correctly officiated and the Jaguars advanced to – and possibly won – the Super Bowl following the 2017 season. But I don't know that beating New England in that AFC Championship Game would have prevented the franchise slide that ensued; I don't know that previous success would have precluded that sort of failure. As for how different personnel moves might have affected things … my guess is the Jaguars would not have sunk to 1-15 last season had former cornerback Jalen Ramsey remained with the team, though I can't say that Foles remaining uninjured would have dramatically helped the Jaguars record the past two seasons. Foles from early on just felt like a situation that wouldn't work. I guess the only way to look this question is through the lens of what did actually happen. The Jaguars were fortunate enough to have the worst season in franchise history last season in a year in which a franchise quarterback was available in the next draft. And that's OK; this team hasn't gotten all that much good fortune in its history. On a side note, this question prompted me to go back and watch the Jack play on YouTube. I hadn't done that in a while. Still incredible. (And still not down).
Paul from Jacksonville
So, I have heard criticism of the Jaguars hiring Urban Meyer as head coach – and those critics point out the lack of success college coaches have had in the NFL. I wonder if it's worth pointing out that no franchise has ever fired a Super Bowl-winning coach to pursue a college coach. I am just saying they aren't usually walking into a winning situation, and desperate franchises take desperate measures. Meyer inherited a 1-15 team. Do college coaches get a bad rap for trying to turn around franchises?
There's a lot of merit to what you say. Here's the reality: Being an NFL head coach is tough no matter the circumstance and no matter the coach's background. Sometimes being a good head coach isn't enough to win. You need a good situation and the good fortune of selecting the right personnel – and selecting the right quarterback. You also need good fortune in terms of injuries. Bottom line: Most new coaching hires in the NFL don't work out, so it makes sense that that's true of most new coaches with college coaching backgrounds. There are a lot of things working in Meyer's and the Jaguars' favor and he seems to be approaching a lot of things the right way. Stay tuned.
Matthew from Fort Worth, TX
Can you handle the truth?
Seamus from Vancouver, BC
OK, OK, so your preferences for the Oxford comma are now set. So what is your take on the tragic abandonment of hyphens ( "-" )? I frequently run into sentences that need re-reading because the author/writer neglected to include hyphens in compound-adjective descriptions. Call it a pet peeve, if you will. Do you have a position on this?
The use of hyphens is tricky for a lot of writers, and I confess I probably get this wrong at times. But there's not really a "position" to take. Using a hyphen to say something like a well-oiled machine or to say something is an oft-used phrase isn't a matter of opinion. It's a matter of what's correct.
Mark from Sobieski
I was in Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago and stopped by the stadium to check out the fan store and lo and behold, it wasn't open. They were holding a job fair, though. I was very disappointed because it's hard to find Jaguars items in any of the stores. Guess I'm used to living near Lambeau Field where their store is front and center and open 365 days a year.
Mark from Jacksonville
Hi, John. Who do you think has played better as a Jaguar, Cam Robinson or Jawaan Taylor? If the team could only make an attempt to keep one of the two, who would you choose? (Not who you think the team would choose, who you yourself would choose)
There's not too much to discern between Taylor and Robinson yet. Robinson, a second-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, has played well at times – and also has been inconsistent in pass protection. Taylor, a second-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, has played well at times – and also has been inconsistent in pass protection. Robinson missed all but two games in 2018 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but has been durable for the most part aside from that. Taylor has been remarkably durable and is the only Jaguars player to have started every game each of the last two seasons. I would probably lean more toward Taylor because of durability/health and because he has two years remaining on his contract while Robinson is playing on a one-year franchise deal. But that answer reflects the fact that there remain a lot of unknowns about each player – and that the 2021 season will decide their futures with the organization. I would expect rookie Walker Little to push for a starting position at some point this season. If he does, it probably will be at tackle. Whether that's at right or left tackle could help decide where Taylor and/or Robinson fit.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, in a pretend world where you are an athlete, what sport and/or position resonates the most with you?
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
All I hear about in this forum is the offense. Who's your defensive MVP next season.
I expect linebacker Myles Jack to be the Jaguars' Defensive Most Valuable Player because I think he will excel in the scheme, and because defensive coordinator Joe Cullen will use him creatively and take advantage of his athleticism. This was pretty much the case last season, though I think it will be noticed more this season because I expect the Jaguars to be better as a team this season.
Gator from Gainesville, FL
_This ded zone is boring and no one is going to look at this web sight. I have a great idea to put butts in front of the computers.... there is a certain two time national champion who is a proven winner everywhere He goes. If the web sight follows Him around and sees how a Champion does what He does everyone would watch. This would be the most visited sight on the internet just like His jersey is the most sold jersey in NFL history. The bonus is when they look back onthis sin darella year and how the Jags did it they can point to the weeks ahead of the season and how He prepared Himself to lift all these other non champions up. _
Earl from DA BURG
Let's just assume Josh Lambo wins the kicker spot, OK? Would it behoove (real word) the guys upstairs to retain Aldrick Rosas on the 90-dude roster and attempt a trade rather than throw him on the street and let other dudes pick him up for nothin? I personally would at least put a sign on Blanding Blvd. selling a slightly used kicker, right?
Wow. You know what? I actually know what behoove means. I also am familiar with bequeath and betroth. But the regular-season roster is 53 players, not 90. That means it's pretty unlikely for a team to retain two kickers. I do imagine the Jaguars would try to trade either Rosas or Lambo, depending on which kicker makes the team. But trading kickers is tricky. There's not a tremendous market for most kickers because of the perception that only a few are significantly better than what can be acquired via free agency. That perception isn't always accurate, but it does affect the trade market.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, Texas
KOAF: Who would you rather have? Paul "Wrecking" Crewe as quarterback from the Longest Yard (2005) featuring Adam Sandler or the 1974 version with Burt Reynolds? Keep in mind that Adam Sandler can also play linebacker as needs as demonstrated in his college days.
Give me Burt. Because he was Burt, for goodness' sake.